So... you guys ready for this now? ;)
Sam's eyes flicker across the screen, studying it with the intensity of a lion stalking its prey while his fingers danced over the keyboard. His enemy had been good so far; almost too good, but Sam knows that it's just a matter of time before this adversary will make a fatal mistake; a slip up of minor proportions maybe, but fully adequate for Sam to take advantage of. Confidence had begun to skirt the edges of the other's actions; glowing through in the movements he made, in the increased speed of which he had begun to execute his so far rational advancements. Sam of course had already planned his steps with the most outright precision, laid out his strategies with carefully monitored checkpoints of which there now only remained one. All he had to do was wait, wait for that precise moment, the split second and then he'd go in for the kill, any moment now…
The trap slammed shut like a vice around his adversary and Sam raised both hands over his head, giving a triumphant shout while another, far more displeased one was heard from the other side of the cubicle he was in.
"Seriously, Winchester!? A fucking Trojan?!"
Sam chuckled and stood up, leaning forwards to look over the dividing wall that separated the two work spaces and gave his coworker an indifferent shrug.
"You have to step up your game, Ash."
Ash glowered at him from his chair, long hair flowing down over the ripped off sleeves of his shirt in unruly tussles, and he gave his own desk a shallow kick before he settled back with a frustrated sigh, defeated eyes locking on to the glaring message that was blinking on his screen.
"It's going to take for-fucking-ever to sort this shit out…" he grumbled and Sam laughed again.
"Guess you better get going then." He offered, getting a flipped up finger in return.
"Fuck you, Sam."
"You too, Ash."
He flopped back into his chair, grinning like a loon. He had been waiting to do that for over three weeks now, and victory was indeed sweet. Ash would forgive him, eventually.
The two of them had hit it off the moment Ash set foot at Edenstar, their common interests in programming soon taking a turn down the more freelancing route. Hacking into each other's computers had soon become a ritual for them that had quickly escalated from leaving little things like fucked up shortcuts on the desktop to much more serious methods to throw the other off. Ash was good, horribly, horribly good and a complete genius when it came to the arts of programming, but sometimes his brain worked a bit too fast and he made mistakes, like in this case; forgetting to lock the backdoor. Sam on the other hand was not as fast, but he would like to consider himself much sneakier. He had planted the Trojan virus over a month ago, having first made several faked attempts to hack into Ash's computer just to study the other's MO, mapping out his rhythm and learning the steps to the complicated dance that was Ash's alone. Once he knew that it was a minor feat to steer his rival through the many crossroads that would eventually lead him to that single combination of programming code that would set the Trojan off, and the best part would be that Ash did it all out of his own free will; with intent and that what's made this victory so blissfully good.
He choked back another laugh when he heard Ash curse loudly, apparently finding out that his usual way of removing viruses only triggered the second course of action in the Trojan Sam had left behind. Oh, this would probably come back to bite him in the ass later, but fuck if it wasn't worth it. He would let Ash keep himself busy for a few hours and then he'd give him the code that self-destructed the virus; for friendship's sake, but for now he was fully content with listening to the other getting his sailor-mouth on.
He was about to shoot another snarky comment over the wall when the door to the office opened and Uriel stepped in. In an instant the sounds around them lowered into a whisper, people stopped talking and the only noise heard was the collected humming chorus of the several computers that were running in the wide space of the office floor.
The suit clad man strode through the lines off cubicles without as much as a look at the people at his sides, the taut expression of superiority clear and condescending on his face. He reached the door leading to Human Resources at the end of the room, walked through it and disappeared out of sight.
"I hate that fucking guy." Ash snarled from his cubicle before the door had even closed properly.
"He doesn't look too friendly." Sam agreed.
"Dude's got such a massive stick up his ass you could use him for a Christmas tree."
Sam chuckled, opening his mouth to say something back but then the door opened and Uriel emerged once more; a big paper portfolio tucked safely under his arm and he strolled back to the door of which he had entered, wearing a smile that simply looked too pleased and then he walked out without a word. The entire room seemed to let out a deep breath of relief when the doors closed behind him and seconds later Ash's head popped up over the edge of Sam's stall.
"Dude, you saw that?" he hissed.
"Yeah." Sam looked at the door through which Uriel had disappeared.
"That's the fourth folder in two months now." Ash pointed out, "You think there's going to be more cutbacks?"
"I don't know. Maybe..." Sam cut himself off, mind immediately going to his brother. More cutbacks… was there even more people to cut back from?
Ash's eyes softened a little, as if he could tell what the other was thinking by looking at his face.
"How's Dean holding up by the way?" he asked and Sam shrugged, turning back to his screen.
"Coping." He sighed and added; "In his own way."
"Crashing and burning huh?"
"Something like that."
Ash shot a look over his shoulder and then he hung down deeper over the separating screen, lowering his voice into a whisper.
"You know… I talked to Jo yesterday." He confided conspiringly.
Sam's eyebrows shot up.
"Wow, she talked to you? I thought she said she wanted to claw your eyes out?"
"We had an uncomfortable discussion about pliers," he admitted but then he turned serious once more. "She told me stuff." He said. "Stuff I think you might be interested in."
"What stuff?" Sam scowled.
"Check this out…"
Ash's head disappeared only to reappear on Sam's side of the wall when the lanky male slid in front of Sam's computer.
"Jo told me they've assigned someone extra down at archives; new guy named Garth. Wet behind the ears still, but eager to work. Dumb as a post."
Sam snorted out a laugh. Ash didn't exactly dress his words, but Sam knew that the expression "dumb" in Ash's world also included more than ninety percent of the earth's population, some days even Sam himself. Ash might be a genius, but he certainly wasn't a people person.
"Anyway," Ash continued, switching between tabs and windows at the screen in a blur of colors. "This guy's job is to "sort" the employees' files, and there's nothing wrong with that, but get this…"
On the screen a message popped up, blinking in angry red, which Ash quickly closed with a few well chosen presses on the keyboard and instead a new window appeared displaying folders listed neatly in a long row.
"…they're sorting them according to pay grade."
Sam looked at the screen.
"Pay grade?" he asked, confused. "But I thought the system was built department-wise?"
"Bingo. But that's not the only thing."
He quickly opened up another tab, entered a few strings of code and another window popped up; this time showing the list of employees as they were supposed to be shown.
"This is what it looks like to the people at Human Resources."
"They're different." Sam concluded after a quick glance. "Why put in the effort to sort them if nobody can see it?"
"Because this…" Ash gestured to the list and then switched back to the new, sorted window, "…and this, are not related. The people at HR doesn't see this, they don't even know it's happening. The whole thing is a cover-up."
"A cover for what?"
"Don't know. No one seems to know shit all about it."
"Then how come Jo knew?" Sam narrowed his eyes and the corner of Ash's mouth quirked.
"She bumped into this Garth fellow in the cafeteria last week. He asked her what he should do with the folders requested by Uriel now that he was out on a business trip and she got curious. Turns out the poor sap doesn't even know his job is a fake. He thinks he's doing great."
"Did Jo tell him the truth?"
"I think she was busy trying to get him to talk. Garth had been told to keep the job low profile and you know how Jo goes all threats when she thinks people are hiding stuff from her."
Sam whistled lowly.
"Did he survive?"
"Are you kidding?" Ash snorted, "The dude's practically in love with her. One would think the prospects of castration would have the opposite effect on a dude…"
Sam laughed out loud. Looked like Jo had bitten of a bit more than she could chew this time.
"Anyway…" Ash continued sourly. "Turns out every now and then Uriel sends Garth a request for random folders within a specific pay grade which Garth puts together in a portfolio and gives to the people in there." He nodded towards the HR office door. "Mr. Stick-up-his-ass picks it up and after a few days the portfolio comes back and listen to this; some of the folders are missing."
Sam looked at him, waiting for his coworker to continue.
"What happens to the missing folders I don't know, but they never make it back to archives. So I made a little research of my own and turns out that all the people who's been fired lately have been put in that portfolio at least at one point. Your brother too."
Sam's eyes widened and Ash nodded, lowering his voice.
"They're picking us off the shelves, one by one, and they're doing it based on how much we earn. In the beginning they only took people on minimum wage, but they're climbing. Dean was one of the first to go from the higher positions, soon they'll be snapping at our heels up here as well."
"On who's orders?" Sam was confused, "Uriel isn't in a position to fire anyone."
"According to the system all the termination papers were signed by Zachariah."
"Zachariah?" Sam scowled. Normally when people got fired the papers got signed by Ellen. For a big player like Zachariah to get involved at such a personal level wasn't just unusual – it was weird.
Sam looked at his computer screen and then resolutely shoved his chair closer to the desk, opening up a new window. Ash leaned in closer, trying to catch a glimpse of the screen.
"What are you doing?"
"Something I probably shouldn't."
Ash eyes widened when he saw the flashed line of code Sam punched into the keyboard.
"You're hacking the mainframe?!" he hissed, but then his face cracked open in a smile. "Cool."
"I knew something wasn't right." Sam growled, fingers working faster. "I knew it."
"You'll never get pass lockdown." Ash pointed out.
"I can try."
"If they catch you there's gonna be hell to pay, you know."
"Then I guess I'll have to make sure they don't catch me." Sam smirked.
Sam's hands worked the keyboard faster, but Ash scowled, leaning over his shoulder.
"You're going too slow." He muttered and then he disappeared back inside his own cubicle.
"What are you doing?"
"Slowing the firewall down. Just give me a sec."
Suddenly there was a loud noise, followed by cheesy music accompanied by even louder grunts and very, very manly moans.
"For fuck sakes Sam!"
Sam grinned when the hard core, gay porn kept rolling on Ash's screen and he heard Ash let out an undignified squawk, finger rapping over keys I panic.
"Looks like you're gonna have to sit this one out, Ash."
"I hate you, Winchester!"
Sam's lips curled into a smug grin, but he quickly went back to concentrate on the screen. He would let the video play for another five minutes or so, just to prove a point, then he'd give Ash the code to turn it off. At the moment however it was for the better if Ash didn't have access to the system, Sam didn't want him to come crashing into this. For Ash it was about finding the answers and finding them fast so that he then could move on to do something else and finish that too, just as quickly. He was all about crashing doors and breaking walls, whatever method that worked the fastest and Sam did not intend to do this recklessly. He planned on sneaking in through the backdoor when no one was looking, and then he would be able to take as much time as he wanted, when he wanted. If this was as shady as Ash made it sound, then there was no telling what would happen should he get caught; losing his job might even be a blissful scenario… His brother would kill him if he knew what he was about to do, but at the moment Sam didn't care. If there had been any foul play involved in his brother's case then he was going to find out no matter how many rules and regulations he broke in the process. After all, he didn't get over a month's suspension from tech collage because he played by the rules…
He was interrupted by another rumbling moan from the other side of the cubicle and he could hear Ash gag a little at the screen.
"Oh-…! Oh god, that's just disgusting!"
"Jo says hi by the way." Sam smirked and on the other side of the cubicle Ash made a sound as if he was dying.
It was just one of those days.
The coffee machine had gone berserk the moment he sat foot in the cafeteria, spraying scorching java all over his shirt and jacket and he thanked his lucky starts that he had gotten away without any significant damage; just a patch of angry red skin flaring over his chest and a matching set of soiled clothing. It wasn't that big of a disaster and the problem was easily fixed since he kept a spare set of clothes in his office in case of unsuspected business meetings, and Becky had been an angel and sent the dirty clothes to the drycleaners, so there was no real harm done. The relief was short lived however, because he returned after lunch only to find that his computer had riled into a complete tailspin during the hour he had been gone; his screen fizzling and distorted with more colors than a bad LSD-trip. He had spent over an hour waiting for the guys from tech support to come fix it, only to find that they couldn't and then he had to wait another hour until they found him a spare laptop to work with while they hauled his old one off to their workshop. The replacement laptop was slower than his normal one and it only added to his frustration that it for some reason kept disconnecting itself from the company network, leaving him cut off from the main server for almost ten minutes at a time, disrupting his work pace. His brother called him a pedantic OCD neat-freak manically obsessed on always being in control of things and maybe, just maybe there was something behind that statement because to be honest this day turned out to be a complete waste of time. He just wished he was back home in front of his TV or in his bed where he could just forget that the past fourteen hours ever happened.
Therefore he was not at all surprised when he came out to his car at about 8 PM, tired and completely strung out, only to be greeted by a wheezing choke when he turned the key to the ignition. He suspected that his head's impact with the steering wheel would leave a pretty nasty bruise on his forehead later, but at the moment he didn't have the energy to care.
"Perfect." He snarled, the famous last straw settling comfortably on the back of his already strained patience and breaking it with a loud snap. He got out of the car, slammed the door shut and whipped his phone out of his pocket, chewing on his bottom lip in poorly contained frustration as the dial tone rang in his ear far too long than he considered acceptable.
"Yellow!" Gabriel greeted cheerfully and Castiel had to remind himself that yelling at your siblings for sounding happy when you needed their help was not a very productive way to strike up a conversation.
"It's me." He grumbled. "Where are you?"
"At Sam's." Of course he was. Where else would he possibly be? Castiel was about to give a snarky response that without a doubt would turn out to be uncalled for when Gabriel chuckled in his ear. "What's wrong, bro? You sound pissed."
"My car broke down." Cas informed him sourly. "I'm stranded at the parking lot at work."
"Oh." His brother made it sound as if it was the most none-fascinating thing he had ever heard and once again Castiel had to remind himself not to say something very rude in return.
"I need to get back home and get the car to a workshop. How soon can you be here?" he rumbled and Gabe seemed to snap out of a momentary daze.
"Fifteen minutes, maybe twenty. Uh, hold on, give me sec..."
A muffled conversation began on the other side of the line, Gabriel's voice dropping to an apologetic tone only to rise seconds later as Sam's voice answered and then Gabe was back on the phone.
"Hey, where are you planning to fix your car?" he asked and Castiel scowled.
"At Adam's as usual. Why?"
"Well, Sammy here says we could take it to Dean's if you like? If you leave your keys with me, Sam and I'll haul the car off to the workshop tonight. You'll have it back again tomorrow afternoon."
"I don't know, Gabe…" Castiel was hesitant. He liked doing business with Adam; sure he was young, but he got the job done and he wasn't particularly expensive. He had no idea who this 'Dean' was, and the thought of leaving his car to some stranger just like that…
"C'mon Cassie!" Gabriel whined, the familiar mocking of his name making Castiel's eye twitch. "I've been there with my own car already. The guy's a genius! And who knows, if you bat your eyelashes at him you might even get a discount." he added with a smirk that Castiel could see even through the phone.
"I'm not going to flirt with your boyfriend's brother, Gabe." He muttered acidly to which he could hear his brother snicker.
"We'll see how firmly you stand by that once you see him. I'm telling you, if I'd met him first I'd have—ow! I'm just kidding!"
There was a low, teasing murmur that Castiel suspected originated from Sam and he cleared his throat, dragging back his brother's attention. Normally he could put up with these three-way conversations but at the moment he just wanted to get home. Gabriel could flirt with his Sasquatch of a boyfriend later.
"Alright, fine." He grumbled impatiently. "You just get here. Now."
He could see his brother's grin of approval as clearly as had he been standing right in front of him.
"In a snap, bro."
"Your brother seemed pretty upset about his car." Sam said from the driver's seat.
"Yeah, apparently he's had a pretty rough day."
They were in Gabriel's car, driving down the main road heading south out of town. They had dropped Castiel off at his apartment already; the keys to his Honda safe in the pocket of Sam's jacket. Cas had not said much during the ride and even though Gabriel knew he had not meant to be rude he had been snappy in his responses and not appeared very keen on talking. Luckily Cas and Sam had met a few times before so he wasn't worried about Sam getting the impression that his brother was a complete asshole, but he sincerely hoped that Cas' foul mood would pass until it was time for them to collect his car…
"He gets all kinds of cranky when he's tired. Hope he wasn't being too rude?" He apologized.
"Don't worry." Sam laughed. "Compared to Dean he was like a fluffy, little kitten."
"That bad, huh?" he asked and Sam rolled his eyes with a huff.
"You have no idea. Did I tell you he threw a wrench at me the other day?"
Gabe gave an impressed little whistle.
"And this is the guy we're going to ask fix my brother's car?" he asked and Sam threw him a lewd smirk.
"I'm not scared." Gabriel objected, "I just get uncomfortable when people throw hard and heavy things at me."
"Don't worry, I promise I'll protect you." Sam gave him a quick pat on the thigh in assurance and Gabriel snorted, disbelieving.
"Yeah, remind me of that when the tools starts flying."
Sam laughed at that, and as usual Gabriel couldn't help but to snicker. His moose had a smile that could brighten an entire concert hall and it was the most contagious thing Gabriel had ever come across since yawning.
"Why did you tell Cas that Dean had already fixed your car?" Sam asked suddenly. "You've never even met my brother."
"Because Cas would never have let me take the car otherwise. Dean will without doubt do the job better and faster than Adam ever could and considering the money my brother would have to spend on cab fair while Adam worked Cas will get off cheaper on this even if Dean charges extra for the trouble."
"There's no need to worry about the money," Sam assured him with another one of those dazzling smiles. "Dean enjoys getting his hands dirty and a new car will only do him good."
"If you say so, Sugarcane."
Sam grimaced, sticking his tongue out.
"That has got to be the worst nickname you've come up with so far." He announced and Gabriel snickered.
"That's what you said about 'Chocolate Moose' too." He pointed out and Sam visibly cringed in his seat.
"Alright, 'Chocolate Moose' was definitely worse." he agreed.
"Worse than 'Honey Bunny'?"
"No!" Sam objected, sounding as if he didn't know whether to laugh or cry about it. "Absolutely not worse than that."
"That's what I thought."
Sam shot him a dirty look from the corner of his eye.
"You know, if you call me any of those names in front of my brother I'm going to tie you to the bed when we get home and make you watch as I eat all your candy."
"That sounds astonishingly boring," Gabriel smirked. "I can think of so many other things to do."
"Oh, I bet you can. Perverted little freak." Sam added mockingly and Gabe threw his hands out in acted innocence.
"What? I'm just keeping an open mind." He defended himself.
Sam laughed, shaking his head.
"You're so fucked up." He declared, not without a light hint of endearment in his voice.
"Not at the moment," Gabriel pointed. "but maybe later..." he added suggestively, leaning back into his seat with a mischievous grin.
Sam didn't answer, but the look he sent the other's way spoke of indecently good things that may or may not come to involve Gabriel, handcuffs and various forms of sweets being eaten straight of his naked body. It was a look of promise that almost had Gabe regretting not having more candy at home.
Soon they spotted the dingy old sign marking out the dirt road to "Singer's Salvage" that lead them past a big field and a small patch of woods, and a few miles later they parked the car on the driveway to Bobby's house and got out. It wasn't the first time Gabriel had been here, but it never ceased to amaze him how one yard could contain such an incredible amount of junk. To him it proved that this Dean-kiddo must be very good at what he did because the appearance sure as hell didn't provide much to appeal to any costumers.
Bobby met them before they even made their way around back, drying off his hands on a piece of cloth that according to Gabriel probably only served to make the hands even dirtier, but Bobby didn't seem to mind. As always he had his cap on, along with that grumpy face of his that for some reason reminded Gabriel of an old bulldog. Just the thought of Bobby greeting a costumer in a fancy Mercedes or anyone that drove something more stylish than a tractor for that matter made him want to cringe. Once again; Sam's brother must be one hell of a mechanic!
Despite the frown on Bobby's face when he spotted them, Sam greeted the old man with a smile and a nod.
"Hi Bobby. How's it going?"
"Good, considering…" Bobby grumbled stuffing the dirty old rag into his back pocket and Sam's shoulders dropped with a sigh.
"We're is he?" he asked.
"Where'dya think." Bobby gestured with his head to the backside of the house and the muscles in Sam's jaw flexed.
"Still going at it, huh?"
"Are you kidding?" Bobby snorted. "He blew out an entire set this afternoon."
Gabriel gave Sam a quizzical look and Sam smiled awkwardly.
"Dean, uh, tends to break things when he's mad… Windows, preferably…"
"Oh…" Gabriel nodded, eyes widening slightly. Suddenly he wondered if this whole thing had been such a good idea. If Dean decided to throw a tantrum and smash Cas' car it would be Gabriel's head on the line since he recommended the bastard. How was he supposed to know the guy was in need of anger management?
He threw Bobby a quick glance and the old man rolled his eyes to the sky, sighing.
"If you plan on talking to him, be my guest. Just wait until he steps away from the crowbar before you bring up anything offensive."
"It's Dean, Bobby." Sam pointed, "I could bring up the weather and he would find it offensive."
"You know what I mean. He's cranky, and I'm running low on door panels."
Sam nodded and gave Bobby an encouraging pat on the shoulder before heading around the corner of the house, Gabriel following behind him in silence. The sun was setting and there was a cold crisp in the air announcing that summer was as good as over, the rows of cars on the yard casting long shadows on the ground. There were lights on inside the old garage housing the workshop and as they came closer Gabriel could hear the static sound of an old radio blaring out rock'n'roll music from inside. The clanging sound of steel colliding with steel rung out in steady beats behind the door and Gabriel caught himself holding his breath when Sam swung the barrier open, revealing a man standing by a worker's bench in the process of straightening out a dint in a trunk lid with something that could only be described as the Hammer of fucking Thor judging by the size of it. Gabriel recalled what Sam had said about the wrench earlier and carefully stepped behind his boyfriend when they entered, not caring that Sam would undoubtedly tease him about it later. He liked his face, and he wanted to keep it just the way it was.
Sam on the other hand didn't seem fazed at all by the huge tool in his brother's hands, striding up to him with the confidence of a lion tamer entering the cage. Dean's eyes flickered towards them when the motion of the newcomers caught his attention, but he didn't stop hammering or turn around, jaw setting in a disturbingly familiar way that made Gabriel want to grin widely. Oh, if this indeed turned out to be Castiel's mystery man then those two had a lot more in common than they were probably even aware of. He took in the muscular form of the man in front of them and he had to admit… if he was right about this, then his brother was one hell of a lucky bastard…
Sam had gone up to stand beside his brother, leaning against the table top while waiting for Dean to recognize his presence, but so far it didn't seem to go as planned.
"How's the work going?" he asked eventually and Gabriel could see Dean's shoulders tense all the way from where he was standing by the door.
"Fine." He bit back and if Sam noticed that the hammer smacked down against the metal a bit harder than before then he didn't show it, still looking as calm as ever.
Gabriel watched as those eyes, green he noticed, went up to glare at Sam's face before returning to the task at hand.
"What do you want Sam?"
Sam turned to look at Gabe, gesturing for him to come closer, but Gabriel shrugged and shook his head firmly. For a moment he thought Sam would turn around and drag him over, but instead he just rolled his eyes to the ceiling as if he was dealing with a defiant child before returning his attention to his brother.
"Gabe's brother got into some car trouble." He said calmly. "I thought maybe you could take a look at it?"
"I'm kind of busy right now."
The hammer collided with steel one more time and Gabriel suppressed the urge to flinch. Sam smiled, almost sweetly and he recognized that smile. It was the 'I want this and you're going to help me whether you like it or not'-smile.
"C'mon Dean." He pleaded. "It won't take long. We'll even tow the thing here ourselves, you just have to take a look at it. A few hours work, tops."
Dean threw the Hammer of Judgment to the side on the table and leaned down to study the surface of the newly abused trunk.
"Sorry, I've got my own car to fix." He muttered and Sam rolled his eyes again.
"Dean, you fixed your car a week ago." He pointed out. "Then you stripped her down and started all over again."
"So?" Dean countered defiantly and Sam sighed.
"So, we've been over this. Fixing you car won't make you feel better."
"Fascinating conclusion. Now if you excuse me…"
Dean turned around, almost hitting his brother in the head when he raised the large panel and slammed it on top of the gaping trunk, moving over to fit it against the hinges.
"Dean…" Sam followed to stand on the other side of the car and grabbed hold of the panel, lowering his voice as he sought eye contact with his older brother across the span of the trunk. "You can't go on like this."
Dean's eyes hardened and his fingers twitched against the metal.
"Let go, Sam." He ordered, but Sam shook his head.
"No, listen to me. How long has it been? Three weeks? Four? You don't talk to anyone except when you yell at them and you haven't been outside this place in days."
Dean closed his eyes and pulled in breath through gritted teeth.
"Sam, I'm really not in the mood for this." He hissed, but Sam was relentless.
"You're never in the mood for this Dean. Just look at you! Something's wrong, I can tell, and maybe whatever it is gives you a perfectly good reason to be pissed, but what I don't understand is why you're so reluctant to talk about it? You're scaring me here, dude…"
Dean glared up at him and for a moment Gabriel thought he saw something else flicker behind the rage in those eyes, but it only lasted for a second, then Dean shoved the panel hard against his brother's chest, walking around the car and disappearing behind the hood, trunk lid forgotten.
"Dean…" Sam started, but Dean interrupted him, voice echoing harsh and hollow from within the vehicle.
"Tell Gabe's brother that he will have to find someone else to fix his car." He grumbled, but Sam shook his head.
"No, I won't. You need this, Dean, you need to focus. Bobby says you've been breaking stuff again, I thought you were passed that by now?"
"Back off, Sam."
"Why are you being so stubborn about this?! We both know that hiding in a grease pit is not going to make things better!"
"I said back off, Sam."
"Dean, it was just a job!"
"God damnit, Sammy!"
The hood slammed shut so hard the entire car shook, but Sam didn't even twitch. Dean was glaring daggers at him, nostrils flaring dangerously and with shoulders drawn together so tight the muscles in his arms were trembling.
It was like watching a wounded animal trying to escape a hunter. Sam was doing something with his face that Gabriel had never seen before; stern and unyielding but with eyes that looked as if they were going to spill over with tears at any given second. Gabriel was certain that had he been on the receiving end of that look he would have dropped like a stone within the span of two breaths. How Dean could keep glaring like that was completely beyond him.
The two brothers stared at each other, the silence only disturbed by the distorted sound from the radio and Gabe was holding his breath. Then something seemed to pass through the space between them, a subtle shift in the air, Dean's brow knotting together and Sam's head tilting ever so slightly in response. Then Dean straightened up and turned away, rubbing his hand across his mouth and then up to card the oil stained fingers through his hair before sighing heavily, reaching his hand out to his brother, palm facing the ceiling.
"Just give me the god damn keys…" he murmured.
"You sure?" Sam dug the key out of his pocket, puppy eyes still in place. "Because we can go get it if you-…"
"I said give me the keys, Sam."
Sam tossed the clip over the closed hood and Dean caught them in the air, looking down at it with an expression Gabe couldn't decipher, but which Sam apparently found pleasing because now his face was back to normal again.
"Thanks, Dean." He said tenderly and Gabriel could hear that he meant it.
"Yeah, whatever." Dean muttered.
"I'll send Gabe to pick the car up tomorrow."
Gabriel shot his boyfriend a horrified look, but Sam ignored it. Dean was still standing there staring down at the keys in his hand when they turned and began walking towards the door, but before they left Sam shot him a cocky grin over his shoulder.
"Oh, and Dean;" he said sweetly, "try not to smash any of the windows this time, will you?"
The response was a lowering snort and a raised middle finger.
"Fuck you, Sam."
"You too, Jerk."
The door to the workshop closed behind them with a low rattle and once they had gotten a few paces away Gabriel turned to Sam with a brow raised in question.
"What just happened in there?" he asked and Sam scratched the back of his neck, giving him that little awkward smile that always made Gabriel want to full on body-tackle him right on the spot.
"Don't worry." he said. "Cas' car will be ready tomorrow."
"You sure?" Gabriel pointed with his thumb to the door behind them. "Because I'm having doubts on that."
"It's cool, Gabe. Dean's always like this. Once he gets under the hood he'll probably end up doing a whole lot more than just fixing the problem out of pure reflex. It's like he can't stop himself."
"Car-addict?" Gabriel asked and Sam chuckled.
"I think addiction doesn't even begin to cover it." Sam chuckled. "He's worse than you and candy, which reminds me…" He abruptly reached out and pulled the shorter man in by the hem of his collar, coming down with the force of a mountain when he pressed his lips against Gabriel's startled mouth.
"I have unfinished business with you," he purred when they pulled apart. "I recall a pair of handcuffs with your name on them back home."
"I thought you said you wanted to take it easy tonight?" Gabriel retorted with a smirk and Sam's grin turned predatory.
"That was before you made me go pick up your brother and promise to tow his car."
"Like that's something worth getting handcuffed for!" Gabe objected but Sam gave him a reprimanding look.
"You had your hand down my boxers when the phone rang, Gabe." He said slowly. "You owe me." He leaned back in and nipped at Gabriel's jawline, moving to suckle lightly at his pulse. "I'll make it worth your while…" he promised huskily and it only took a lazy drag with the tip of that tongue against his jugular for Gabe to decide that yeah, yeah, suddenly the promise of being handcuffed sounded really good.
"How far out are we going?"
"Not far. It's just a few minutes down this road."
"What did you say this place was called again?"
"Singer's Salvage. Don't worry bro; it's a perfectly legit institution."
"Coming from you I'm not sure if I should trust that. What exactly did Dean fix on your car when you were here anyway? The gearbox still sounds like it's going to fall through the floor whenever you shift."
Gabriel grinned widely, turning in on the road leading to Bobby's place, making a point of dragging out the previously mentioned, grating sound when he shifted down into second gear. Castiel tried to glare a more elaborate answer out of his brother, but when it became apparent that he wouldn't get one he shook his head and leaned back against the backrest with a sigh. Gabriel wasn't going to tell him anything else and if his mood was anything to go by today Castiel wouldn't be surprised if he'd find his car spray-painted in bright pink with rainbows and unicorns on the hood once they reached their destination. His brother had been smirking ever since he picked him up from work and that usually never meant good news for him, but seriously, if Gabe had done something to his car he was going to kill him!
A house suddenly came into view behind a curve of the road and Castiel barely had time to note the sign marked "Singer's Salvage" before his brother had parked the car on the driveway.
"Here we are!" he chimed happily and jumped out, sprinting around the hood and opened the door for Castiel who climbed out with a suspicious squint at his brother.
"What's going on?" he asked warily and Gabriel, the little shit, just grinned even wider, the gleam of his teeth beaten only by the one in his eyes. Castiel did not like it one bit.
"Gabriel, if you've messed with my car, I swear to god-…" he threatened, but Gabriel interrupted him.
"Your car's fine, Cassie." He draped a hand over Castiel's shoulder and pulled him closer. "Don't get your panties in a bunch."
"Then why do you look so happy?" Castiel retorted, twisting himself away, ignoring the use of his brother's favorite pet-name for him. Something was up, and the thing that made him more nervous than anything was the fact that Gabriel wasn't even trying to hide it. Wasn't trying or was unable to, which if possible was even worse! But Gabriel just snorted loudly and folded his arms behind his head, rocking back on his heels.
"What? A guy's not allowed to be happy all of a sudden?" he asked and Castiel glared at him.
"I know the look on your face, brother. It's the same look you had when you switched my bug-repellant for sugar water when I was going hiking with the scouts."
"C'mon, I can't believe you're still upset about that."
"I had ants in my underwear, Gabe."
Gabriel shrugged, an awfully crooked motion with the way he held his arms, but he didn't look the slightest sorry and Castiel sighed, pushing past his brother with just a hint of an elbow to the side.
"Forget it. Let's just get my car, I want to go home."
"As you wish."
Castiel didn't have to turn around to know that his brother was still grinning like an idiot.
The garage was located behind the house and Gabe led the way there through the many rows of cars with unwavering confidence. There was a radio playing inside and Castel could hear the lyrics from "Enter Sandman" blare out through the open doors, by the sound of it coming from an old radio rather than some expensive sound system.
The garage was almost empty apart from the two cars that were parked inside, one of them being Castiel's own and he noted that it still had the same dark blue color as before which made his heart flutter with relief. Going by the looks of the vehicles lined up outside he had expected… well, not to find his car still in once piece, that's for sure.
There was someone laying underneath the other car, which was a vintage of some sort, the only thing showing being a par of denim clad bowlegs sticking out under the slick, black frame to which Gabe now set course.
"Hey Deano!" he called out, tapping his toes against the shining rims next to one of the legs. "You taking a nap under there or what?"
Castiel rolled his eyes. Seriously, would it hurt for his brother to learn some manners? He sighed and instead walked up to his own car and dragged his hand lightly over the roof. It didn't look any different on closer inspection either. So why was Gabe being such an ass?
He heard shuffling noises coming behind him, followed by something metallic scraping against concrete.
"Kick my car again and I kick your ass, Gabriel."
Castiel's world froze.
It was as if the entire earth had stopped spinning; slowing down to this ultra rapid pace where every movement seemed to be dragged through thick layers of syrup and Castiel forgot how to breathe, how to think. The sound of the radio faltered and drowned within the sound of his own pulse ringing inside his head and he could feel every beat of his heart with painful clarity, suddenly horribly aware of everything going on inside his body from the breath catching in his throat to the tiny hairs on his neck rising and prickling the sensitive skin. Then everything slammed back into gear, going from zero to sixty in two seconds flat and the air sucked back into his lungs, making him dizzy. He plastered his hands on the roof of his car, fingers spreading wide, groping for stability, clinging on to something, anything to keep his legs from giving out underneath him and as he stood there bracing himself he heard Gabriel give a low 'tsk' from behind.
"Now be nice, Dean. What would Sammy say if you ended up breaking me?"
"He would thank me. Eventually."
The sound of that voice made Castiel's heart race and fire to race through his limbs, but at the same time it brought ice to his gut and somehow, he couldn't for the life of him understand how, he managed to turn his head and gape over his shoulder because it couldn't be…!
Gabriel was standing by the hood of the other car; hands shoved comfortably into the pockets of his jacket and in front of him with his back to Castiel was… Oh sweet mercy…
The owner of the body housing the voice Castiel had been playing shower hanky-panky with for almost four months turned out to be every inch of sex that his mind could ever have hoped to dream up.
The man's shoulders were broad and muscular underneath a dark grey t-shirt, smudged with grease and oils stains and they narrowed down to a slim waist, a perfect display of the delicate symmetries between well toned muscles and slender limbs. The waist continued in narrow hips and the ass that followed would have had him drooling had it not been for the shock still screaming through his system.
He could hear Gabriel say something else and this time the man gave a quiet chuckle in response, and that was it, there was no doubt. This man-... but how...?!
Castiel knew that he was staring, he knew it but he couldn't help himself and he was almost to busy trying to keep his now trembling hands under control that he almost missed the smirk his brother sent him over the stranger's shoulder, but he didn't, and he knew what was coming even before his ass of a sibling even opened his mouth and he violently shook his head, mouthing out a mute 'don't!" but it was already too late.
"Dean – meet my brother, Castiel. Cas, this is Dean."
Oh god. Oh god!
The Adonis turned around and Castiel's heart must have skipped at least a dozen beats at the sight of the greenest eyes he had ever seen, and the smile the man sent his way rendered every other light source in the workshop completely useless. He could feel panic rise when Dean began moving towards him, hand stretched out in a greeting and Castiel knew that he had to take that hand, would have to touch it, but he couldn't move and he couldn't look away, lost in the eyes that were now less than a meter away and he couldn't breathe, he couldn't breathe!
"Castiel, huh? Cool name."
The sound of his name from those lips, his real name spoken as a whole in that voice was almost too much. He stared at the face before him, heartbeat like thunder inside his chest and his eyes dropped to the outstretched hand and then moved back up as in trance. He swallowed; mouth gone dry like sandpaper. This couldn't be. How could this be?!
Then Dean's fingers were closing around the back of his hand and it took Castiel a few moments to realize that he had reached out and reciprocated the other's handshake without even thinking about it.
"Pleasure." He mumbled, quickly and in a voice so hoarse he was surprised he could even create sounds.
What was he doing?! He shouldn't be here, this was dangerous! If Tiger- no, if Dean recognized him here he wasn't sure if he would survive it. He knew that all it took was for someone to ask him anything that required him to speak more than single syllabled words and then this whole situation would tailspin into a complete disaster.
Gabriel was grinning like the damn Cheshire cat over Dean's shoulder, pointing to the two of them and doing suggestive eyebrow wiggles that made Castiel want to punch him in the face despite the fact that none of this could actually be happening. There was no question in his mind now that this was a dream. It had to be a dream; how could it possibly be anything but a dream?! Still, the hand in his felt disturbingly real... Could it be real? Because if it was, then this was the man who had turned Castiel's entire world lopsided in just a few groaning breaths and it struck him that if that was the case, then the hand currently clutching around his fingers had been repeatedly used to stroke this man to orgasm with just the help of Castiel's own voice and he abruptly let go, taking a step back, barely avoiding to bump his back against the car still parked behind him, sporting a faint pink flush on his cheeks.
"So, Cas…" Dean looked at him, inclining his head to catch Castiel's eyes which were now diverted to the floor. "It's okay if I call you Cas, right?"
"Of course it is," Gabriel cut in, appearing by Castiel's side and draping his arm lazily over the younger man's shoulders like he had outside just minutes ago. "We're practically family, might as well cut off the titles before they stick, right?" Dean snorted loudly, turning around to return the screwdriver he was still holding in his left hand to the toolbox by the car and Gabriel beamed a triumphant smile at Castiel. The look he got in return spoke of murder, dark piers and five bags of concrete.
"Anyhow, Cas." Dean continued, paying Gabriel's comment little attention. "You don't have to worry about your wheels. Turns out all you needed was a little gas in the tank."
Castiel's head whipped around, staring at Dean in disbelief.
"What?" he choked, completely forgetting that he wasn't supposed to speak and Gabriel quickly relocated himself to the other side of the workshop, eyeing a piece of an exhaust pipe with overwhelming interest.
"Your tank was empty. Probably sucked dry by some kids, I've heard that's been happening a lot lately."
"Oh…" Castiel said sternly, sending his brother a look that would have turned a lesser man to stone, but Gabriel just returned it with an innocent smile and then he started whistling quietly to himself while plucking with a few screws lying on the table.
On second thought, make that seven bags.
Dean dug his hand out of the pocket of his jeans, dangling the keys to Castiel's car in front of him.
"I filled you up so she's all set. And don't worry about the cost," he said with a smile and an appreciative look up and down his body that cut Castiel's unspoken question off so fast he barely had time to draw breath. "It's on the house."
Castiel could not face that look for long and so he quickly averted his gaze down only to find himself helplessly staring at that intoxicatingly lewd stretch of mouth beneath instead and his entire being was soon screaming for him to lean forward, to feel the soft swelling of those lips against his own, discover their taste and the hot wetness that surely lied behind that dazzling row of teeth, but he stayed put, taking the keys out of Dean's hand with a mumbled "thanks" and a nod.
"Isn't that great, bro?" Gabriel chimed from behind Dean's back. "Too bad Sparky here didn't get the chance to pop your hood though; he's a real miracle worker. Boy, the things those hands can do with a bit of lubing." Gabriel winked at Castiel, who responded by trying to fight back a furious blush and glare daggers at him at the same time, knowing exactly what his brother was referring to. Dean however didn't seem to notice the strained atmosphere between the two siblings and just reached up to scratch at the back of his neck.
"Please Chuckles, you're making me blush here." He muttered sarcastically and the corner of Castiel's mouth twitched up into a panicked smile, the hilarious horror of the situation starting to become too much. Oh, he could think of a lot of things that would tint the color of Dean's cheeks, but a compliment on his mechanic skill wasn't one of them and he couldn't believe he just thought that.
"So there's nothing wrong with your car, but I did fix a few other things for you." Dean said and before Castiel could react or do anything there was a hand on his shoulder as Dean pulled him towards the car and the touch of those fingers burnt through his clothing and set his entire body ablaze, but he couldn't bring himself to do anything but being led like a lamb to slaughter and when Dean opened the door to the driver's seat, offering Castiel to climb in he did so without protest.
When Castiel slid past the other his nose caught on to the scent of oil, gasoline, spearmint gum and beneath all that the familiar, tangy smell of citrus and sandal wood from Tiger's shampoo, all mixing together into a scent that had his body aching in just the split second it took for him to get behind the wheel. It was a good thing he was supposed to be sitting down because he felt like he was seconds away from fainting right there. He almost jumped out of his skin when Dean suddenly leaned in through the door opening, face only a few inches away from his own and Castiel couldn't run, he couldn't escape, the green of Dean's eyes being everywhere as they locked on to his.
"I got you an oil change too," he said, gesturing to the control panel. "And I toped up the cooler fluid."
Castiel nodded, squeezing around the steering wheel in his hands, praying to God for something, anything to get him out of this mess. He needed to think, to compose himself, but neither of that was possible as long as Dean kept invading his personal space like this. He was too close, so close Castiel could feel the warmth of his breath ghost over his cheek as he spoke and his knuckles whitened even further.
"And I worked over the interior for you." Dean continued. "No offence, but it was about time; your trunk alone was a mess."
Castiel was about to open his mouth and grate out a short "thank you", but he only got halfway when the meaning behind those words made impact on his brain.
Dean had been in his trunk.
Dean had been in his trunk.
The trunk from which he had yet to remove the gym bag that had been left forgotten since his last visit to the company shower room.
The gym bag currently containing a perfectly sculpted replica of this very man's cock.
Praying to God suddenly wasn't enough anymore.
"So, you like it?" Dean asked and Castiel could only nod, scared to death that if he tried to speak now the only words that would come out of him would be "dildo" or possibly "rubber penis", none of them being very good alternatives at the moment.
I have this man's dick in my trunk.
He would never make it out of this garage alive.
He could see Gabriel over the ridge of Dean's shoulder, trying desperately to stifle his grinning with his hand rubbing against his mouth and Castiel would so kill him once they got out of here, Gabriel was a dead man. Gabriel must have caught on to the look in his baby brother's eyes because he started backing away shortly afterwards, heading for the door.
"I guess I'll get going then." He announced loudly. "I'll catch you later Deano, thanks for the help."
"Sure, whatever." Dean threw back over his shoulder without allowing his gaze to leave Castiel's face for a second, but Gabriel was already gone, the door closing with a mute snap of hinges behind him on the way out.
They were alone.
Oh, god they were alone.
Dean shot him a smile that made Castiel's toes curl. He felt like he should say something, but for the life of him he couldn't come up with anything to say! He silently cursed Gabriel for putting him in this situation; the dick could at least have warned him, but of course where would the fun in that be?
His hands slid lower on the wheel, palms sweating furiously and he could feel the moist that had begun to collect at his temple and neck, sending chills down his spine. He licked his lips, but his tongue provided no moisture, rasping dryly against chapped skin and he searched his brain, desperately trying to come up with a topic that wouldn't blow his fragile cover to pieces.
It was Dean who broke the silence, though, unknowingly coming to his rescue.
"Your brother's quite a pain in the ass, huh?"
The bluntness caught Castiel off guard and he snorted in spite of his imminent panic.
"You have no idea." He mumbled and Dean chuckled and shook his head, leaning heavier on the frame of the car, his head dipping lower into the door opening.
"Oh, I think I can imagine. My own ain't exactly a saint."
"Brother's are not supposed to be." Castiel agreed, forcing his raspy voice up an octave or two.
"True." Dean agreed, smiling even wider. "Though sometimes I wish they'd just mind their own business, you know?"
Castiel nodded. Oh, didn't he know it, though at the moment his feelings were a bit torn on the subject.
"So, you've got your apartment back yet?" Dean asked and this time Castiel didn't need to fake a higher register.
"Sam told me you've been living with your brother for a while. Something about a leak in your apartment?"
Castiel's insides completely iced over. The leak. Oh god, had he mentioned the leak? Did Tiger know about the leak?! Raking through his memories of the last six months he groped after any mentioning of the reason to why he had been in the company's shower room to begin with but he couldn't recall a thing. Oh dear, please don't let Dean have recognized that. Please make it so that he had managed to keep his mouth shut!
"Uh… yes. I did, but it's fixed now."
"Glad to hear that. Can't imagine how it must have been living with him for all that time."
"It wasn't all bad." Castiel objected and Dean's eyebrows shot up in impressed surprise.
"Really? Wow, you must have the mentality of a saint."
Or an angel… Castiel thought to himself, not without irony.
"You get used to it. He tires eventually, after a month or two." He smiled to himself and Dean laughed, eyes sparkling and sending delightful tremors through his body. Oh, how he had missed that laugh. How he had missed this, the talking and teasing; it all flowed on so smoothly, so naturally. How did he ever think he would be able to live without this?
Dean looked at him, eyes crinkling at the edges from a smile that Castiel would have been content watching for the rest of his life, but sadly the close proximity to those lips made that a very dangerous business. There was a lump in his throat threatening to choke him and a pulling in his lower abdomen that made him want to lean his head back and groan. His tongue darts out once more and this time Dean's eyes lock on to the movement, his own lips parting a little in the process.
"So… what's happening?" he asks and Castiel could swear that the other's voice had dropped into a smoothed out purr.
"Happening?" Castiel breathes and his eyes struggle to rip away from the sight of that mesmerizing mouth.
"Yeah, you know" Dean chuckled a little, the sound and puffed out breath shooting straight south through Castiel's body. "Like for the weekend? You got plans? Somewhere to be?"
"No… not really."
"Yeah, me neither." Dean pushed away from the car and stretched, arching his back like an enormous jungle cat and Cas could barely hold back a whimper at the display before him and then Dean relaxed with a content sigh, coming down to eyelevel with the man inside the car once more. "I'm thinking about spending Saturday night on the couch watching an old movie or something." He announced. "Maybe you should do the same?"
"It sounds relaxing." Castiel agreed quietly
Something glints in those green eyes the moment the words leave Castiel's mouth and Cas' breath hitches uncontrollably. Did Dean just indirectly ask him out?
Was Dean flirting with him? Holy fuck, were they flirting?
Then suddenly Dean's smile falters and he groans, pulling away.
"Shit, man, I'm sorry."
For a moment Castiel has no idea what he's talking about, but then Dean whips out a rag from his back pocket, reaches in and grabs Castiel's hand of the wheel and starts wiping it off. It's not until then that Castiel notices the smudged out handprint that's left behind on the steering wheel, realizing that the grease on Dean's hands must have rubbed off on Castiel's own when they greeted each other earlier.
"It comes out easily, I swear." Dean fidgeted with the rag and Castiel just stared at the fingers clutching his hand.
"It's alright." He tried, but Dean's eyes rose from his hand to his face and then he winced gesturing at Castiel's shoulder where another dark handprint had been smudged over the fabric.
"Aw fuck, it's all over your suit too!"
"There's really no worry," Castiel assured him. "It's just a cheap suit anyway."
"Here, let me get the wheel for you."
Without warning Dean dove into the car and started wiping the steering wheel down and Castiel pressed himself back into his seat, trying to give him room, but the narrow space made it very hard. Dean's arms brushed against his chest and Cas was painfully aware of the heat radiating off the other's body, pulsating against him and burning straight through his clothes. Dean's face was just an inch away from his own now and he could see every single detail with painstaking clarity, from the small grains on the stubble of his cheeks to the thick eyelashes lowering over well defined cheekbones. How easy wouldn't it be just to reach out and turn that head to the side and press those lips against his? How easy wouldn't it be to just tell him everything right here and now, to come clean; explaining that he had an ass of a brother who just like Dean's couldn't stay out of other people business? His finger's twitched against his knees and his heart was pounding a staggering beat against his ribcage. Couldn't Dean hear it? He was so close; he should be able to hear everything, every single thrum and reverbing staccato inside Castiel's chest.
How easy wouldn't it be…?
Green eyes turned towards him, head shifting but not pulling back and they were so close, so incredibly close and his breath was on Castiel's face, hot and sweet and there. Castiel's right hand came up, aiming to grasp around Dean's jaw, but instead found the steering wheel again, fingers latching on so hard around the leather that Castiel doubted he would ever be able to let go of it again.
Castiel stares at him and Dean looks straight back, and there's something there, something within the mossy depths of those eyes that makes Castiel's entire body freeze up, unable to move. He watches Dean tilt his head, upper body shifting towards him in slow motion and he can't bring himself to say or do anything about it, his lips parting with the whisper of a breath and Dean's moving closer, eyes locked, asking for permission, and Castiel gives it, oh god help him, he gives it.
Dean's eyes flicker to his lips and then up again and they're so close now that Castiel can feel the warmth radiating of his face. Then Dean's gaze seems to catch on to something in Castiel's own eyes and he sucks in a breath that makes Castiel's heart jump.
"Fuck, your eyes…" he groans and the new, husky dimension of his voice makes Castiel's stomach pull tight in something that could have been pain if only it didn't feel so good. Castiel swallows, eyes flickering, tongue darting out in a desperate attempt to moisture his chapped lips, but barely working. Dean blinks and swallows too; the sharp jut of his Adam's apple shifting in his throat and when he speaks next there's something new to his voice that cracks the words on their way past his lips.
"Wow… they're really…"
Then suddenly Dean was out of the car and the retracted heat from his body left Castiel shivering in the front seat.
"I'm sorry." Dean pulled his hands through his hair, leaving strands of hair to spike out in oily tussles in their wake. "I didn't mean to be all-… fuck, I'm sorry!"
Castiel watched as Dean backed away, eyes darting, looking everywhere except at Castiel and Castiel can't move from his spot inside the car, knuckles white around the steering wheel with the other hand fisted in his trench coat and he doesn't know what to do, doesn't know what to say, how to react because he has no idea what's happening!
Dean must notice his confusion because he groans again, burying his face in his hands.
"It's just-… You reminded me of someone and I-… fuck I'm so stupid…!" He cuts himself of and looks up, and the light that was in his eyes just moments ago was gone, the sparkly green color directed at him dull and murky and Castiel could see the once so gleeful shimmer dying like the final, gasping flicker at the wick of a blown out candle.
"You should go." He grits out, politely but firm. "Don't wanna keep your brother waiting."
Castiel stares at him, stunned to silence, mind working frantically to catch up with the situation, thoughts screaming inside his head that something had just gone horribly, horribly wrong! Dean was asking him to leave. Why did he want him to leave? What did he do?!
"It was nice meeting you, Cas."
And that right there is a good bye as much as anything; the broad planes of Dean's shoulders tense and rigid as he turns his back to Castiel and disappears below the hood of his own car, and Castiel's mind goes numb.
He has no memory of closing the car door, or sliding in the key to turn the ignition on. He doesn't recall how he backed out of the garage or maneuvered himself up through the narrow row of cars lined up on the backyard of Singer's Salvage, but when his brain kicks back in he's driving down the same dirt road he and Gabriel had come from earlier and he almost misses that his brother is parked by an intersection further ahead, waiting for him while leaning comfortably against his own car door.
Cas' foot hits the breaks so hard the car almost spins out of control on the gravel and it halts less than a foot away from his brother's bumper. He's out of the car in a flash and then Gabriel's shoved up against the door panel so hard the car sways.
"You son of a bitch!" he yells, fingers twisting the fabric of Gabriel's shirt, teeth bared in a snarl that in no way matches the smirk on his brother's face.
"Hey, easy there, bro. No need to get touchy."
"Give me one good reason to why I shouldn't punch your face in right now!"
Gabriel frowns, looking at Castiel as if he just asked him the dumbest question in the world.
"What's with the tantrum? I found him for you, you should be thanking me!"
Gabriel stumbles when Castiel throws him to the side, but he remains upright, spinning around and holding his hands out in front of him in defense.
"Okay, so maybe it was a bit blunt, but I wanted to surprise you." He offered and Castiel glared at him, hands bawling into fists by his sides.
"Well, you did!" he snapped. "You idiot, do you have any idea what could have happened had he recognized me?!"
At that the amused glint that had been residing in Gabriel's eyes disappeared, getting replaced with the sharp gleam as that of a blade, followed by a dangerous tightening of his jaw.
"As a matter of fact, yes!" he snapped back. "Question is; do you?!" Gabriel's voice is suddenly hard and it takes Castiel aback for a moment, his mouth clamping shut when his older brother straightens up and gives him a look that Castiel hasn't seen since he was seven years old.
"If I had told you where we were going; who we were about to meet; then you would never have come with me and you know it!" he begins sharply. "Look at you! You've been down so low you've been staring up at the soles of your shoes for over a month! I'm not stupid Cas, I know! I see and right now I see you showing more spirit than you have since that time I filled the vent in your car with baby powder!" He spits the last thing out like it's an insult. "So you go ahead and tell me; which part of seeing him again could possibly have made things worse?!"
Castiel glared at him, nostrils flaring and lips pressed into a thin line, but he didn't say anything. Gabriel's eyes were like molten steel, glowing with amber in the setting sun and the air between them had grown thick and loaded like a thunderstorm. Castiel's gaze his hard and to most people it would be terrifying, but Gabriel's eyes does not falter. They pin Castiel to the dirt road beneath his feet and hold him, stripping him clean and exposing him to the harshness of his brother's words; they strike him like the cutting edge of a whip against bared flesh and he knows that the pain they cause is only there because they're true.
"You don't understand-" he starts, but Gabriel interrupts him.
"Understand what? That you love him? Because that's old news, buddy."
"That's not what I meant…" Castiel found himself squirming, eyes darting to the side to escape the fire in Gabriel's gaze. He had never been able to lie to Gabriel. Gabriel saw everything. Always.
He looked up, a painful clench in his stomach. Gabriel never addressed him using his full name. Not since that night all those years ago when they had escaped the torment of their older brother, the night where they had celebrated Gabriel's sixteenth birthday at a bus stop downtown with a pack of skittles and a soda Gabriel had kicked out of a vending machine in the subway. And right now Gabriel was looking at him the same way he had back then, eyes glazy with so many unsaid things pressing on behind those hazel mirrors that Castiel could barely stand the sight of them. Because Castiel had never been able to lie to Gabriel, and Gabriel had never in his life lied to Cas, not when it really mattered. And this, this right here; it mattered.
"He's right there, bro."
It was with much agony that Castiel kept himself from turning his eyes over his shoulder, to gaze down the road to Singer's Salvage from where he had just left.
"All you have to do is to go get him."
"I can't." He hated himself for the wounded whimper in his voice, but he couldn't take it back and he could feel Gabriel roll his eyes at him.
"That again? Really?" When Castiel didn't answer he sighed and threw his hands out.
"Fine, I wasn't going to say anything, but apparently this ain't going anywhere unless I do."
"Say anything about what?" Castiel frowned and Gabriel swaggered past him and jumped up to sit on the trunk of his car, resting his feet on Castiel's bumper. For several minutes he just sat there and stared towards the horizon, squinting in the light of the setting sun and after a while Castiel joined him, climbing on top of the car and settling beside his brother in silence with a confused frown on his face.
Out here in the warmth of the fading summer the events in the garage seemed like a distant memory, or a dream that had already begun to fade away. He looked down at the palm of his hand, looked at the dark streaks of oil that had nestled itself into the fine lines of his palm and for a moment he felt like he was going to lose his balance altogether, the sight of Dean's legacy on his skin being too much to handle. He brought his hand up and rubbed it against his neck, trying to will the goose bumps prickling the skin there away, but without success. The hand then slowly crept down the jut of his collar to gently fold over the smudged out handprint that was still curled around the curve of his upper arm and shoulder and he took a deep shuddering breath, feeling the shock begin to settle in his system, bringing a fine tremble to his limbs.
"You haven't asked me how I found him yet." Gabriel said silently and Cas flinched despite himself.
He didn't answer though and after a moment Gabriel continued on his own.
"It was Sam." He confessed, sighing as if he would have preferred to find it out on his own rather than being told. "He told me that his brother had been fired and that he was really broken up about it. I didn't give it much thought at first, just thinking the dude seemed a bit too attached to his job…" He leaned back, tilting his head up to the sky. "Then he told me that his brother used to work late and use the company shower every Friday. Apparently it was impossible to make him skip it." A hazel and golden eye peered open at him. "Sound like anyone you know?" he asked and Castiel swallowed hard.
Gabriel looked at him and nodded silently.
"Putting two and two together wasn't that hard. I just had to get you out here somehow. Like I said, picking you up and telling you straight out would only have given you the shakes and that," he pointed at the tip of his nose, "would without a doubt have ended in disaster."
Now it was Castiel's turn to nod, because of course, it was true. The shock alone was probably the only thing that had enabled him to function at all inside that garage. Gabriel knew it. They both knew it.
"So. I've told you how I found him…" Gabriel turned towards him, face still serious but with a smirk playing in the golden tones of his eyes. "Now you tell me how come you're not spread eagle on the hood of that Chevy right now with his tongue down your throat?"
"Gabriel!" Castiel gasped, but his brother only shrugged.
"What? It's a perfectly legitimate question! I literally serve you the guy of your dreams on a silver platter and you don't even stay behind to give him a little tongue fondling?"
Castiel grimaced at his brother's use of words and his glare was only marred by the blush creeping up his cheeks. The look Gabriel sent his way was almost painful.
"Please tell me you at least scored a date with the man?" he asked and Castiel's tongue swiped out to moisture his lips, but when he didn't answer Gabriel sent an incredulous groan to the sky.
"I swear, sometimes I can't believe that you and I are even related."
"Trust me, the feeling's mutual." Castiel assured him.
"So what now?" Gabriel leaned back, resting his shoulders and neck against the back window. "You know where he's holding up now. You know his name… Where do you plan on going from here?"
"I don't know." Castiel mumbled and Gabriel groaned.
"What is there to know? C'mon, Cas, he's right there! You just have to grab him!"
"I've already told you that it's complicated."
"Oh really? Then let me uncomplicate it for you." He sat back up and canted his head down, forcing Castiel's eyes to meet with his. "Dean misses you, jackass!" Castiel's eyes widened and Gabriel caught the poorly contained hitch of his brother's breath.
"Sam told me your little boyfriend's been housing the temperament of a rattlesnake ever since he got fired. He snaps at people, throws tantrums and lashes out without explanation and every single time do you know what he does afterwards?"
Castiel looks away, but Gabriel's eyes are fixed on his face, like a laser tracking and analyzing every single twitch and pull of the muscles there and Cas is tense, he doesn't know what his brother is about to say, he's not sure he want's to know, but he needs to know so he holds his breath, waiting for the inevitable blow and when it comes it knocks the air out of him completely;
"He takes a shower."
The words resonated through his entire body, ringing out with the sound of clanging steel, mixing with the memory of Dean's voice from before and making him suck in breath loudly between his teeth.
You reminded me of someone…
His eyes. Dean had been looking at his eyes.
Your eyes… Wow… they're really…
"Blue." He said it out loud, the nickname falling from his lips in a punched out breath at the same time as a faint flicker of hope ignited somewhere inside his chest.
Gabriel was still watching him, he could tell without looking, but his reaction seemed to please his brother because he was pulling back once more to lean against the windshield of his car and staring up at the darkening sky with a satisfied smile on his lips. He barely had the time to settle though before a guitar riff shattered the silence, the tones of some 70's rock band bursting from the phone in Gabriel's jeans. He dug the device out and took a look at the screen, smile twitching slightly at the sight of whoever was calling before he brought the phone to his ear, interrupting the singer that had just begun to apologize for something he had done that he apparently didn't mean.
"Hi, Babe." he chirped, "Listen, can I call you back, this is a bit of-?"
He cut himself off and Castiel was ripped from the lingering shock of his revelation when he heard the voice on the other side of the line give a snappy response that clearly informed Gabriel that calling back later was not even being brought up for discussion right now.
He watched as his brother's smile faltered, slowly being replaced with a confused scowl.
"Yeah I'm with Cas, we just picked up his car. Sam, what's-?" once again he was cut off in the middle of his sentence and Sam's voice got even louder. Castiel watched Gabriel's face blanch a little and then, honest to god, his brother nodded into the phone like a school boy who's just been scolded by the teacher.
"We're on our way." He said and Cas could hear the crackle when Sam hung up first.
"What's wrong?" he asked and Gabriel stared at the phone as if he expected it to jump up and bite him at any second.
"I have absolutely no idea, but he sounded pissed."
He jumped off the trunk and walked around to the driver's side.
"Get a move on, Sam wanted to see us right away."
"Us?" Castiel asked, confused, as he made his way to his own car.
"Yeah, he told me to bring you with me. It was the only thing he was actually being clear on."
Castiel gulped. From the way Sam had been sounding, he was not entirely sure that his requested presence meant good things for him.
Oh god, what if Dean had phoned Sam for some reason and… no, that was stupid. Dean had no idea that Cas and Blue were the same person, why would he tell his brother…? Then again, Cas told his brother, so there was always a possibility that Dean had done the same.
What if Dean had recognized him? The eyes… He had noticed his eyes! Or perhaps he just remembered that Blue also had a leak in his apartment? Or his voice? Damn it he knew he had been talking too much! Oh, sweet Jesus, he knew! He knew and he had phoned Sam and now…! To be honest he had absolutely no idea what was happening now, only that he didn't like it!
He watched Gabriel get into his car and start up the motor, so he quickly returned to his own and did the same. As he gripped the wheel to follow his brother down the road back to town he could feel Dean's phantom breath ghost across his face and he suppressed the urge to shudder. The longing for Dean's touch returned with renewed strength, but he fought it back, pressing his right foot down a little bit harder instead, causing the car to skid back out on the road with an angry growl. He didn't dare indulge in the thought of such things before he knew what Sam's call had been about. If things turned out to be bad he wasn't sure if his heart would be able to handle such a letdown… The hollow sound of Dean's voice and the memory of those squared shoulders were painful enough.
He tried not to linger on the fact that this meant that his future now rested within the palms of a giant who had just ended a very upset call by doing the cellphone version of slamming the phone down on his boyfriend's ear. If this indeed turned out to be something bad he might not have to worry about potential heartbreak after all – Sam would simply snap his spine like a twig.
So how do you like the plot so far? Am I twisting it at the right places? Have I missed out on explaining something or left questions unanswered that should have been answered already? Please let me know if you come up with anything, okay? =D
Love you all!